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Elderflower Syrup: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

elderflower syrup
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - RitaE

Elderflower syrup is a real summer’s delight. You can use it to make refreshing beverages to enjoy on those hot summer days and you only need a few ingredients to make it from scratch.

Making elderflower syrup is easy and you only need a couple of ingredients. Below, we show you a simple step-by-step recipe for homemade syrup and tell you all you need to know about elderflower from what it is to harvesting and storing it.

Elderflower: What It Is and How to Harvest It

Harvesting elderflowers
In order to find elderflowers to make syrup from, keep your eyes open for blooming elderberry shrubs in May and June. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - WikimediaImages)

What it is: Elderflowers grow on shrubs called “Elderberry” that are best described as large bushes, though they can grow as tall as trees. Note that there are some similar looking plants that grow from the ground, so make sure you don’t confuse them. You can find several elderberry varieties across the United States. The American Elderberry with the botanical name “sambucus canadensis” is very common throughout North America and in all likelihood, you can find it in your region.

Elderflowers grow in clusters, so they’re easy to harvest, but do be careful not to damage them. Here’s how you do it: Snip off the flowers with a pair of scissors, cutting off as little stalk as possible. Then place them loosely in a basket or large bag. The flowers should be processed soon after you harvest them.

The “when” is just as important as the “how“. Elderflowers bloom between May and late June, but the exact moment depends on the weather conditions in your region. So, if you’re trying to collect them to make elderflower syrup, for instance, make sure to keep your eyes open during these months.

Elderflower Syrup Recipe

Elderflower Syrup Recipe
Making elderflower syrup is easy and you only need a couple of ingredients. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - WolfBlur)

Ingredients for one bottle (about 4 cups) of elderflower syrup:

  • 25 elderflowers
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1 organic orange
  • 1 organic lemon

You’ll also need:

  • a large pot
  • a large container that can sustain heat (you could use another large pot or stainless steel bowl)
  • fine wire sieve or cheese cloth
  • empty bottles

Step-by-step elderflower syrup recipe:

  1. Carefully rinse the flowers under cold water. To avoid losing too much of the sweet pollen, rather than washing the flowers, you can also gently shake them to get rid of dirt and dust particles. However, this way you may not get rid of small insects that may be clinging to the flowers.
  2. Add water, sugar and citric acid to a pot and bring everything to a boil.
  3. Rinse the orange and lemon under hot water and cut them into thin slices.
  4. Place the fruit in a separate container and add the elderflowers. Then pour the hot mixture with the sugar and citric acid into the container.
  5. Put a lid on the container and seal it as tight as you can. Let everything infuse at room temperature for three days. Stir or shake sporadically.
  6. Afterwards, pour the syrup through a sieve or cloth and into a pot.
  7. Bring everything to a boil.
  8. Fill the hot syrup into sterile bottles and seal them right away.

Storing Elderflower Syrup

elderflower syrup bottle
Summer time is syrup time! If you fill elderflower syrup or any other homemade syrup into small bottles, it will last you for a while. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - silviarita)

After you’ve filled the elderflower syrup into bottles, you should store it in a cool and dark place. There it will last up to a year if tightly sealed. Because syrup spoils more quickly once you’ve opened the bottle, we recommend using several small bottles rather than one big one.

Elderflower syrup is a great addition to almost any summer beverage. Add a bit of syrup to a glass of cool sparkling water and you’ll have a refreshing drink that tastes great and is healthier than store-bought lemonade, for instance.

This article was translated from German to English by Sharon Hodge. You can view the original here: Holunderblütensirup selber machen: ein Schnell-Rezept

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